Just as I have some extra time to train, the inevitable happens and I end up with a cold. I say inevitable for a couple reasons… First, cause my kids are petrie dishes, bringing home to my place every germ conceivable to man, and maybe some that have mutated from earlier forms of life. And secondly because it seems that endurance sports has a negative impact on the immune system at times (marathoners are known for getting sick after the stress of their race)… So the combination of my training and my kids germs make it difficult to avoid the possibility of getting sick entirely.
And so, as per all the previous mid-training sicknesses the debate begins in my head…. Train through it? Or rest up and try to let the body recover. I’m not the only one to have ever asked this question. In fact, its probably one of the most oft debated questions by endurance athletes — probably more common than asking what kid of shoes to wear, or whether power vs heart rate is the right training tool for cycling! And, the lay wisdom seems to be that if the cold is in your lungs, lay off… But if not, its ok to push through…
I’m not convinced.
Its been my experience over the years that if I continue to train, even at a lighter load than normal, I’ll push the minor cold that I have into something more serious, lasting and debilitating. It’ll settle deep in my lungs and hang about for a couple weeks or longer after I’m feeling otherwise perfectly healthy… Making for a difficult time to really get back to full training for way longer than necessary.
So if I know from experience that I should lay off, why is there even a debate? Cause as always, I want to train. I feel insanely guilty taking a day or three or five off. I know I’m not going to lose my fitness in that short a period of time. But I also know I’m not gaining any fitness and it will be difficult to get back into the swing of things once I am “clear” to start again.
Its also very difficult to gauge whether a cold is really a “serious enough” cold to worry about…. Or whether it so minor I could, in fact, push through it without negative consequences. In other words, its tempting to ignore the wisdom gained through the ages, and just hope for a miracle.
Well, let’s just say, that as I sit here in the drizzle, looking out over Guelph Lake where all my fellow triathletes are swimming, I’ve (once again) chosen to sit out the workout in hopes that I’ll be better off having rested than worked. With only a couple more weeks til my race, this sort of patience won’t last too much longer. But at least a couple days… Well,
I can be that patient, right?